Monday, January 30, 2012

Sevier Park: A Review

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 5:15 AM

Location: 12 South
Size of Park: Large
Crowds: Heavy
Approximate Age of Patrons: All ages
Topics of Conversation: "Down, Chester! Down!"
Stray Dogs Seen: Impossible to tell which dogs were running loose stray and which dogs were just running loose.
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: All kinds.
Perceived Safety: Medium high
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Perhaps too friendly
Number of pitbulls sighted: None
Accessibility: There are some challenges. A lot of the park is accessible, but parts are not.
Incorporation of Local History: Considering that we don't have an official, designated battlefield, it'd be nice if there were more.
Recommended Patrons: Children, people who want their children to be eaten by dogs

Let's start this review on a positive note. Sevier Park is awesome. It's draped over a lovely hill just south of Mafiaoza's, just north of 440. There's a beautiful old antebellum home in the middle of it, and a beautiful creek that winds through the park. The playground equipment is plentiful and in good shape. The tennis courts are packed. There were two people kicking a soccer ball around at the far end of the park. And there are a million beautiful trees.

If you are not every once in a while hanging out in Sevier Park, you are missing out. Just in terms of people-watching, it's great. I saw two country-goth folks (which I did not even know was a thing until I saw them) by the community center. There was a couple in a hammock behind the house. There were a bunch of people inexplicably standing in the creek, for reasons I couldn't ever discern. And the number of little kids was just ridiculous. I met one little guy who was right at that stage where he'd clearly learned to walk, but still held his arms out almost perpendicular to his body to do it. He was grinning at everyone like, "I can walk!" Adorable.

The house, Sunnyside, could use a coat of paint, but is in otherwise good repair. If you're curious about antebellum architecture, this is a good spot to get right up by the house and really take a look at how things are put together. I was wishing I had a historian with me, though, because I couldn't identify any of the outbuildings except the chapel. The outbuildings are all in various states of disrepair, which is too bad — because as much as that part of Tennessee's history is not pleasant, it is our history and we shouldn't let the parts we're not comfortable with crumble. We don't know what from the past the future might need.

One thing to check out is behind the chapel. There's a rock on a brick base, and on the top of it is a carved triangle with a carved compass in the middle. I don't know what that is, but after watching the History Channel all weekend, I can only assume it's some kind of ancient alien wisdom.

This land was between the Union and Confederate lines. It would be nice if there was a little Civil War interpretive stuff here, but there's not.

Still, all in all, the park itself is one of my favorite parks in Nashville ... with one caveat. I saw something at Sevier Park so assholish that I literally wonder if the dog owners in Sevier Park have lost their damn minds.

I know that people often don't leash their dogs in the park, even though there are signs all over reminding them that dogs in the park have to be on leashes. But until this visit, I have only ever seen the dogs off-leash back by where the soccer field is. In other words, way out of sight of the playground.

But this time, I saw at least three dogs off-leash on the hill between the house and the playground. (There was also a German Shepherd who might have been off-leash, but I didn't get close enough to see for sure.) And these were big dogs, at least two of whom I saw for myself did not recall well. One took having its name shouted at least three times. The other didn't respond to its name at all.

There should be no dogs off-leash at Sevier Park at all. But anyone who would let a dog who won't come when it's called off its leash near a bunch of children and dogs it doesn't know should not be allowed to own a dog. That shows a lack of judgment.

That situation is completely unsafe for the children and other dogs. Any dog will bite under the right circumstances and the "right" circumstances almost always involve strange children or strange dogs. But these folks take their dogs right to a place that has both these things in abundance and then let them off their leashes. Unbelievable.

I repeat: Sevier Park is a great park. But if dog owners can't follow the rules — or at least break the rules with more damn sense — they're going to ruin it for everyone.

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